- Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez was elected by the minority bloc as their new leader
- Suarez is an ally of Jejomar Binay and a party mate in the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA)
- The minority group opted for a separate election of their leader instead of going with the tradition of naming the second-placer in the Speakership race as the House minority leader
Former Vice President Jejomar Binay’s ally – Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) – was elected on Wednesday as the new minority leader of the House of Representatives for the 17th Congress.
The minority group held a meeting at the House of Representatives for the election of their leader despite the tradition of naming the second placer in the race for the House Speaker post as the minority leader.
In Monday’s election, Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez won a landslide victory with 251 votes and was elected as the new House Speaker. Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat of the Liberal Party came in second place with 8 votes while Suarez came in third with 7 votes.
Since Baguilat came in second place, many thought that he would become the new minority leader. However, majority leader Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas argued that the rules of the House mandated a separate election for the minority leadership instead of going by the tradition.
In the ensuing election held by the minority bloc, 22 members chose Suarez while three representatives abstained. They were Rep. Sharon Garin Rep. Rodel Batocabe, and Isabela Rep. Ma. Lourdes Aggabao. None of the congressmen who voted for Baguilat in the Speakership race attended the separate election for the minority leadership post.
In June, Binay’s party mate already expressed his desire to become the next minority bloc leader.
“Sinabi ko kay (I told) Bebot (Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez), I think we’re their best choice when it comes to minority—the UNA. Unang-una nag usap na si Binay at Digong (President Rodrigo Duterte),” Suarez said in an earlier interview.
Meanwhile, netizens reacted to Suarez's election with some questioning the decision of the minority bloc to not follow the tradition while others criticized UNA's bet.
After winning the election, Suarez promised to lead the minority bloc in ensuring checks and balances of the policies and proposals of the government. -Kami Media